Initial balloon soundings of the electric field in winter nimbostratus clouds in the USA

W. David Rust, R. Jeffrey Trapp

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Presented are the first known vertical profiles of electric field, E, in six winter nimbostratus clouds in the USA. No lightning was detected while the E profiles were collected. Deep convection was embedded in one of the clouds that had been a thunderstorm. The maximum magnitude of the vertical component of the electric field, Ez, in the profiles ranged from 1 to 12 kV m-1; the maximum horizontal component ranged from 0.2 to 28 kV m-1. The latter indicates that the charge in the cloud was not horizontally homogeneous. The Ez versus altitude profiles have 1-3 peaks inside the clouds. From the profiles, we inferred up to four charge regions stacked vertically. Peaks in Ez are found in regions of melting as evidenced by radar bright bands: Both polarities of charge are inferred in the bright bands. Three nimbostratus clouds without melting precipitation also were electrified.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)20-1-20-4
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Volume29
Issue number20
StatePublished - Oct 15 2002
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)

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